Spring is coming and what better time to spruce up your grab and go offering, refresh those menus and say hello to some of this year’s hottest food trends…
Finger on the Pulses
Nuts, seeds, and pulses are increasingly replacing meaty fillings and gluten laden carriers. What's more, they sit hand in hand with both plant-based and free-from diets. Meanwhile, puffed pulse snacks (which have been edging into the mainstream for several years) are poised to explode – expect to see baked snacks made from peas, chickpeas, black beans and rice everywhere!
The vegetarian and flexitarian movements continue to grow as more and more consumers make meat a treat or cut creatures from their diet altogether. Since 2017 we’ve seen a 37% increase in sales of our Vegetarian stickers (which are applied to sandwiches, salads and other food to go items). However, the meat-free movement has not seen growth across the board as Veganism now appears to be levelling off, this said, we saw a 66% increase in sales of our Vegan sticker this Veganuary (January 2019) when compared to the previous year.
When it comes to plant-based diets, true plant-lovers don’t discriminate – that way nothing goes to waste – so ‘ugly’ fruit and veg, tops, tails and peelings all at the ready! And if you are eating meat, goat is where it's at - no kidding – it’s lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than red meat and more sustainable too. Goat is also an absolute dream with many of this year’s finest flavours (see below for details)!
With single-use plastics never far from the headlines, food and drink providers are looking to reduce their usage like never before. Packaging is often one of the worst culprits - if not public enemy number one - which is precisely where we can help: Our compostable ranges are made from sustainable, plant-based materials - even the parts that look like oil-based plastics (windows, lids, laminates and liners) all come from plants.
Flavour-wise 2019 has gone far flung, expect to see street-style feasts rooted in Sri Lankan, Burmese (see Seafood below) and West African cuisine, as well as dishes from the Caribbean, Mexico and Peru. Sri Lankan kottu is a particularly savvy little number as it taps into the plant-lover / zero-waste trend as well as the Sri Lankan one by dicing last night’s curry leftovers and reimagining them into a brand new dish.
Ocean fodder, shellfish especially, is making waves – from crispy salmon ‘crackling’, cockle popcorn and Bajan crab sandwiches to rich, aromatic stews from West Africa and Peru. However, the seafood trend extends way beyond the cast of Finding Nemo with samphire (technically a land dweller), kelp, algae and other sea greens all entering into the mix. Sea greens are served crispy (as a snack or topping), blended with butter or added to anything and everything from pasta to jerky.
We’re Not Bitter…
...But our menus are developing a bitter edge. While partially associated with the rise in gut health-enhancing products like kombucha and kimchee, the most discerning consumers are simply feeling a little bit bitter in 2019. Coffee, dark chocolate, char-grilling and pickling all lend a bitter edge, therefore a Mexican (see above) char-grilled chicken wrap with a spicy, dark chocolate marinade will cover a lot of food trend bases.
Sweet as A…
You know how we just said the market is moving towards bitter flavours… well because trend forecasting is a contrary business there are some sweet treats in there too just to keep everyone on their toes. So be warned, a tropical storm is blowing in from the South lending a fresh and fruity twist to desserts, mocktails and even mains (jackfruit is the new tofu don’t you know). Ice cream is also getting a reboot though, when it comes to flavours, the crazier the better – from avocado to harissa, kelp infused to jackfruit – and that our dear readers, is the scoop!